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An Introduction to Western Medical Astrological Wisdom

An Introduction to Western Medical Astrological WisdomA physician without a knowledge of astrology cannot rightly call himself a physician. Hippocrates (460-377 BC), Father of Medicine.

"The study of the natural world by which to attain the knowledge to heal extends as high as the stars” Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654), English herbalist, astrologer, medical practitioner and author.

"Anything born in the moment of time carries the quality of that moment." Carl Jung (1875-1971), Swiss psychologist who used astrology for 25 years.

Brief History
For over 3000 years, the ancients blended the wisdom of the earth (the herbs) and the heavens (through the planets and the language of astrology) to promote healing and a natural state of balance, as they recognized the interconnectedness of nature. This empirical tradition researched and promoted harmony between the energy patterns of humans, plants, elements, colors, planets and signs.

The Egyptians are considered to be the first to have used medical astrology. In fact, a representation of the "Zodiac Man", illustrating the correspondence of body parts and systems for each Zodiac sign, was found on Egyptian hieroglyphs around 500 BC. Later, the Greeks anchored this medical tradition with the work of two famous physicians: Hippocrates (460-377 BC), the famous doctor and philosopher regarded as the Father of Medicine, and Gallen (130-200 AD), who developed further Hippocrates methodology and whose authority prevailed for 1400 years. Claudius Ptolemy (around 200 AD), perhaps the most famous Greek astrologer, was a practicing medical astrologer. He emphasized the importance of studying the horoscope, as well as the chart drawn at the time of illness, to diagnose a medical case.

It is worth noting that the Greek school reflected the ancient thoughts and observations of its time as seen in the Five Elements of Oriental Medicine, for example. As the medical tradition of using astrology to heal flourished in Western Europe, much research was also done to further the understanding of the association between herbology and astrology, particularly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In England, Nicolas Culpeper (1616-1654), the most famous herbalist astrologer, wrote the "Complete Herbal” and many other books still in print today! By the end of the Seventeenth Century, this tradition came into decline with the advance of "modern medicine"! It took some two hundred and fifty years for astrology to be brought back into favor as a holistic tool to comprehend people's health patterns. Carl Jung (1875-1961), the famous Swiss psychologist, was one of the leading modern practitioners to use astrology with his patients. Today, there are about 200 practicing medical astrologers. It is our belief that there will be a renaissance of this tradition in the 21st century.

The Cornerstone of our Western Medical Astrological Wisdom
Astrology, being a language of interconnectedness, demonstrates in a profound way how everything, health, people, signs, planets, herbs, etc… are all linked together! It establishes these connections through a very logical analysis of correspondences and polarities/ dualities in all things.

Just like planets, signs and herbs contain elements found in nature; so does the human body. The body contains all of the four elements found in nature, Fire, Earth, Air and Water, which give it certain energetic qualities. Fire is hot and dry, Earth is cold and dry, Air is hot and moist and Water is cold and moist. The human organism is also seen as an exact miniature duplicate of the solar system with the outer framework of the body corresponding to the signs of the Zodiac and the internal organs and body systems corresponding to the planets.

Good health is represented by all four elements being in harmony, or eucrasia ("a good mix" as it was known to the Greeks). The herbs and food we eat, our lifestyle and level of consciousness, the planetary cycles, which manifest in our mind and body: All will have an effect upon this balance.

The ancients saw the natal horoscope as a blueprint for how these energetic planetary patterns may influence one's health:

1. Our natal horoscope is likely to show a dominant temperament or personality. For example, a person might be too choleric, melancholic, sanguine or phlegmatic and his (her) health will be affected by the energetic quality represented by the temperament. Note that modern astrologers use different names to refer to the personality: fiery (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), earthy (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), airy (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and watery (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces).

2. Our natal horoscope often highlights a certain health pattern as well. Traditional analysis is too complex to be the object of a brief article. We can point out that the Sun's sign and Moon's sign location indicates the regions of the body that are the most subject to challenges. To some extent health conditions can also be related to the sign opposite the Sun sign, given the law of polarity. The placements of planets in the sixth and twelfth houses are also important.

To study the cause of actual dis-eases or imbalances, astrologers also analyze those transits or lunar, solar, or planetary cycles that put extra stress at a given time on one's horoscope. Oppositions (need for compromise) and squares (tension form conflict) can lead to a health problem centered in the organ or processes related to the planets and signs involved. This would be a manifestation of the planetary dis-ease.

How were imbalances treated in ancient times? With herbal remedies and foods chosen for their special resonance with the sign or planet creating an imbalance. Where a plant grew, its most important physical feature, its taste and smell gave each plant a “signature” which in turn indicated what it should be good for and its "natural" correspondence with a planetary energy.

How Can We Benefit Today From This Ancient Tradition?
If indeed we believe that our patterns of personality and individuality are reflected by our horoscope and that these patterns affect our health, then we can certainly benefit greatly by giving consideration to our horoscope. Personally, I consider it a blessing that we can use this ancient knowledge to adopt a holistic program and eat the right herbs and foods to nourish our body, mind and spirit.

For example, many people are not connected with the energetic quality of their Sun Sign: they repress it and do not feel at ease with it. The same holds true for their Moon Sign, which represents the personality and emotions: many people do not handle their emotional energies in a healthy way. If by eating the right herbs and foods for your Sun or Moon Sign, you can connect better with your sacred energies and nature, I cannot think of a greater gift to yourself!

This ancient wisdom has given us research on plants and healing with astrology that continues to be as invaluable to us as it was then.